CHENNAI: Hitting the family where it hurts the most, Tamil Nadu's caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, whose shock revolt against the AIADMK leadership has shaken up the politics in the State, said a committee headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge would be appointed to inquire into the death of party leader and late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Allegations about the cause and nature of Jayalalithaa's ailment, and the last 70-odd days that she spent in the hospital before her death have been among the strongest weapons in the war of perception against general secretary VK Sasikala and family. From Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Madhavan to party veteran PH Pandian, all those who are opposed to Sasikala have raised doubts about Jayalalithaa's death.
Speaking to the media outside his residence on Wednesday morning, Panneerselvam said he would join forces with Deepa if need be and rejected allegations that either the BJP or the DMK were behind his rebellion against the leadership that had sought to ease him out.
Ever since he opened up on Tuesday night, there has been a steady and swelling stream of visitors to Panneerselvam's official residence. As the only leader who holds a position to rebel, he is quickly becoming the rallying point for the dejected and the disgruntled within the AIADMK.
However, popular as he is among the people and cadre, matters will be decided by party MLAs, a good majority of whom are with the establishment.
Only three among the 130-odd MLAs are with Panneerselvam; over a hundred are at the party headquarters right now, attending a meeting convened by general secretary Sasikala. It is not yet clear who the rest of the MLAs are backing.
But sounding unconcerned, Panneerselvam, the caretaker chief minister, said he would prove majority when the Assembly is convened.